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  • Author: Chiara Benassi, Niccolò Durazzi, Johann Fortwengel
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
  • Abstract: Why do skill formation systems put SMEs at greater disadvantage in some countries than others vis-à-vis large employers? By comparing vocational education and training (VET) institutions and their differential effect on firms of different sizes across three countries (UK, Italy, and Germany), we show that the design of VET has profound implications for shap- ing the ability of SMEs to use institutions as resources. In particular, quasi-market institu- tions in the UK amplify SMEs’ disadvantage, while non-market coordinating institutions in Italy and Germany narrow the gap between SMEs and large employers. By unpacking the comparative disadvantage of SMEs, we offer important nuances to the argument that institutions help firms coordinate their business activities in different varieties of capitalism.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Capitalism, Vocational Training
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Germany, Italy
  • Author: Wada Haruko
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The United States, Australia, Japan, India, France, the United Kingdom, Indonesia and ASEAN have adopted the term “Indo-Pacific” as a policy symbol of regional engagement. However, less attention has been given to the change in the geographical definition of the “Indo-Pacific”. This study examines how these countries have adjusted the geographical scope of “Indo-Pacific” to understand how they conceptualise the region. It finds that the inherent core area of the “Indo-Pacific” is from India to the Southeast Asian countries and the seas from the eastern Indian Ocean to the South China Sea, and that the “Indo-Pacific” has converged eastwards and diverged westwards through the geographical adjustment process. It also found that some of the geographical definitions have an additional function of conveying diplomatic messages. These findings will help us understand how the concept of “Indo- Pacific” as conceptualised by various countries develops.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, ASEAN
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Asia, France, Australia, Indo-Pacific
  • Author: Timothy Besley, Anders Jensen, Torsten Persson
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper studies individual and social motives in tax evasion. We build a simple dynamic model that incorporates these motives and their interaction. The social motives underpin the role of norms and is the source of the dynamics that we study. Our empirical analysis exploits the adoption in 1990 of a poll tax to fund local government in the UK, which led to widespread evasion. The evidence is consistent with the model’s main predictions on the dynamics of evasion.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Economy, Financial Crimes, Tax Systems
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Global Focus
  • Author: Samuel B. H. Faure
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales
  • Abstract: Published in the context of Brexit, this research paper analyses the ‘double relationship’ between Britain and Europe: being ‘in’ by taking part in co-operation with other European states, and at the same time being ‘out’ by staying away from or even leaving multilateral programmes in Europe. This dilemma is worked on from the case of defence procurement policy. How does the British government decide to be both ‘in’ and ‘out’ of Europe by participating in the A400M military transport aircraft programme and withdrawing from the EuroMale UAV programme? Based on exclusive data, the decision in favour of the A400M (‘in’) is explained by the action of political, administrative and industrial actors who perceive the A400M as a ‘truck’ rather than a ‘race car’. As for the British State’s decision not to participate in the EuroMale programme (‘out’), it is conditioned by a weakening of the political will of political actors, and at the same time by a strengthening of conflicting relations between French and British administrations and industries. In doing so, this research contributes to the literature on the acquisition of armaments in strategic studies, and to the literature on differentiated integration in European studies.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Political Economy, European Union, Brexit, Conflict, Europeanization
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, France, Western Europe, European Union
  • Author: Ana Muhar Blanquart
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Brexit is a term coined of the words “British exit”, referring to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. First used in 2012 by the founder of the British Influence think-tank Peter Wilding, it became the most frequently used political term in 2016, the year when the British electorate chose to leave the European Union and thus change the political landscape of the United Kingdom and the European Union.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, England, North Ireland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales
  • Author: Marko Attila Hoare
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The popular vote of the UK on 23 June 2016 to leave the EU has been politically an earthquake for the first and a shock to the second. Retrospectively, the outcome was likely, given the structural factors both within Britain and between Britain and the EU. Yet these same factors have obstructed a clear British post- referendum strategy for secession: Britain Britain’s relationship to Europe is traditionally ambiguous. Britain’s identity - of a Protestant island-state formed in 1707 from the Anglo- Scottish union - was cemented during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in wars against the Catholic powers of continental Europe. It was successively reinforced by Napoleon’s anti-British Continental System; does not know what kind of Brexit it wants, or whether it wants one at all. This briefing will examine the causes of the Brexit revolution and the reasons for its uncertain execution, before considering the likely outcome.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Geopolitics, Europe Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales
  • Author: Nick Childs
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom is on the cusp of regenerating what is a transformational capability. The first of the UK’s new-generation aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth, has been at sea on trials for two years, and is working up towards its first operational deployment in 2021. The second ship, HMS Prince of Wales, is scheduled to be accepted into service before the end of the year. The F-35B Lightning II has achieved initial land-based operating capability and the Lightning Force has carried out its first overseas deployment, Lightning Dawn. Maritime aviation in the round has undergone a significant transformation, and there has been a substantial increased focus on collaboration and partnering with industry as well as developing stronger links with critical allies. To underscore the significance of the undertaking, then secretary of state for defence Penny Mordaunt announced on 15 May 2019 that the UK planned to produce a National Aircraft Carrier Policy to lay down a blueprint for how the new carrier era would help deliver the UK’s global objectives. In addition, on 4 June, then prime minister Theresa May announced that the UK would earmark the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers to form part of NATO’s significant new Readiness Initiative. These developments have prompted thought and discussion on the extent to which the carrier programme will enable and actually drive the transformation of UK joint-force capabilities, and are posing questions about the demands such a programme will place on UK defence and industry. This paper considers both the opportunities and challenges that the carrier era presents in a number of key areas
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, National Security, Military Strategy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, London
  • Author: Tarek A. Hassan, Laurence van Lent, Stephan Hollander, Ahmed Tahoun
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: Using tools from computational linguistics, we construct new measures of the impact of Brexit on listed firms in the United States and around the world: the share of discussions in quarterly earnings conference calls on costs, benefits, and risks associated with the UK’s intention to leave the EU. Using this approach, we identify which firms expect to gain or lose from Brexit and which are most affected by Brexit uncertainty. We then estimate the effects of these different kinds of Brexit exposure on firm-level outcomes. We find that concerns about Brexit-related uncertainty extend far beyond British or even European firms. US and international firms most exposed to Brexit uncertainty have lost a substantial fraction of their market value and have reduced hiring and investment. In addition to Brexit uncertainty (the second moment), we find that international firms overwhelmingly expect negative direct effects of Brexit (the first moment), should it come to pass. Most prominently, firms expect difficulties resulting from regulatory divergence, reduced labor mobility, trade access, and the costs of adjusting their operations post-Brexit. Consistent with the predictions of canonical theory, this negative sentiment is recognized and priced in stock markets but has not yet had significant effects on firm actions.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation, Brexit, Global Political Economy, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, European Union
  • Author: Rhys McCormick, Andrew Philip Hunter, Gregory Sanders
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: In light of Section 881 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which expanded the legal definition of the National Technology and Industrial Base (NTIB) to include the United Kingdom and Australia, this report informs NTIB partners on barriers and opportunities for effective integration. The expansion of the NTIB is based on the principle that defense trade between the United States and its closest allies enables a host of benefits, including increased access to innovation, economies of scale, and interoperability. In order to reap the greatest benefits of a new era of NTIB, this report uses the lessons learned from study of the present state of integration to identify areas of opportunity for policy reforms and greater cooperation.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, International Cooperation, Science and Technology, Reform
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Australia
  • Author: Seth G. Jones
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The August 14 attack in London is the latest reminder that terrorism persists in the West more than a decade and a half after September 11, 2001. The United States continues to face a threat from right-wing, left-wing, and Islamic extremists, despite comments from some U.S. policymakers that terrorist groups have been defeated. Perhaps the most significant lesson from the London attack, however, is the resilience of the British public. They kept calm and carried on. The attacker was Salih Khater, a UK citizen from Birmingham who was in his late twenties. He drove a silver Ford Fiesta into a crowd of pedestrians and cyclists in London and then crashed it into a security barrier outside the Houses of Parliament. Eyewitness accounts were chilling. “I heard lots of screams and turned round,” remarked Barry Williams. “The car went on to the wrong side of the road to where cyclists were waiting at lights and ploughed into them.”1 The tactic—a vehicle used as a weapon—is all too familiar. Terrorists in the West have increasingly resorted to simple tactics, such as vehicles and knives, to kill civilians. Compared to previous incidents in the United Kingdom, Salih Khater’s August 14 attack was second-rate. He had been meandering around London for several hours, which suggests that the incident was not carefully planned. His tiny Ford Fiesta was no match for the barriers around the Houses of Parliament that are designed to stop attacks from 18-wheelers. And Khater failed to kill anyone, though he did injure several people. UK security agencies have conditioned their public to be prepared for plots and attacks. The United Kingdom’s recently-published counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST, argues that the country faces a significant, multidimensional threat from terrorists. According to data from the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, there were more failed, foiled, and completed attacks in the United Kingdom than anywhere else in the European Union in 2017.2 There were also more terrorist-related arrests in the UK in 2017 than in any previous year since 2001.3 Between December 2013 and May 2018, British intelligence and law enforcement agencies thwarted 25 plots from extreme Islamic groups.4 Most of these plots were inspired by the Islamic State and its ideology, rather than directed by Islamic State operatives.5 On March 22, 2017, for example, British-born Khalid Masood drove a sports utility vehicle into pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge in London, killing three people. Masood then took two carving knives out of his vehicle and stabbed police officer Keith Palmer, killing him outside of Parliament. On May 22, 2017, Salman Abedi detonated an improvised explosive device in the foyer of Manchester Arena, killing 22 people; 10 of them were under 20 years old. On June 3, 2017, three men—Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane, and Youssef Zaghba—drove a van into London Bridge, killing two people. They then jumped out of the van and killed six more people using large knives. On September 15, 2017, an 18-year old Iraqi asylum seeker named Ahmed Hassan detonated a bomb using triacetone triperoxide (TATP) on a District line train at Parsons Green Underground station in London. Thirty people were treated for burn and other injuries.6 Right-wing terrorism has also been on the rise in the United Kingdom. On June 19, 2017, Darren Osborne, a 47-year old British man, drove a van into Muslim worshippers near Finsbury Park Mosque, London, killing one person.7 On June 23, 2017, Marek Zakrocki, a known supporter of the far-right party Britain First, drove a vehicle into an Indian restaurant in London, injuring several people. He was armed with a kitchen knife and a baton-torch, and he told police: “I’m going to kill a Muslim. I’m doing this for Britain. This is the way I am going to help the country. You people can’t do anything. I am going to do it my way because that is what I think is right.”8 While there have been relatively few terrorist attacks in the United States recently, the United Kingdom—and Europe more broadly—have faced a more severe threat. The number of jihadist-related terrorist attacks in the European Union peaked in 2017 with 33 failed, foiled, and completed attacks. This number was up from 13 in 2016, 17 in 2015, and 2 in 2014. The geographic distribution of attacks also expanded. European Union countries experiencing jihadist-related terrorism now includes such countries as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.
  • Topic: National Security, Terrorism, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Europe Union
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, England
  • Author: Thierry Tardy
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: The story of the EU’s efforts to acquire some kind of autonomy in the security domain has al- ways been told with reference to NATO. Back in Saint-Malo in 1998, French President Chirac and UK Prime Minister Blair framed the idea of a Eu- ropean Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), part- ly in response to NATO’s primacy in handling the Yugoslav conflicts. The objective at the time was for the Union to be given the “capacity for auton- omous action”,1 with “autonomous” referring to freedom from NATO and the United States. In this endeavour, the perception in NATO has always oscillated between indifference vis-à-vis a process that did not seem credible, and concern that an increased EU role in defence could under- mine NATO’s centrality and the transatlantic link. Over the last few years, the EU has embarked upon a process of beefing up its defence profile, raising anxieties in NATO circles. Most recently, references to the need for Europe to acquire stra- tegic autonomy or to move towards a European army, have added to the concerns. But are there reasons for NATO to worry about what the EU and its member states are doing? Is the EU aspira- tion in defence threatening the transatlantic link? Does the EU have the power to unsettle NATO?
  • Topic: Defense Policy, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, North Atlantic, France, North America
  • Author: Pnina Sharvit Baruch
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The combined attack by the United States, Britain, and France on Syrian targets following the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons has sparked extensive debate on the strike’s strategic aspects, and how, if at all, the offensive will affect the situation and the balance of power in Syria. The attack has also aroused a legal discussion, which once again highlights the limitations of the existing rules of international law when it comes to dealing with situations where the use of force is not based on the authorization of the Security Council or derived from the right to self defense. In this context, the forceful response, in and of itself, particularly being a combined attack by a number of key states, could have an impact on the development of international law with regard to the rules regarding possible legal justifications for the use of force between states.
  • Topic: United Nations, Military Strategy, UN Security Council, Chemical Weapons
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East, France, Syria, North America
  • Author: Tom Keatinge, Emil Dall
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on Global Energy Policy
  • Abstract: Sanctions are a key tool of foreign policy but have taken on greater salience over the last 20 years as governments have reached for leverage in negotiations but foregone the use of force. During this period, the alignment of the design and implementation of sanctions by the European Union and the United States has, on the whole, been an article of faith as the transatlantic allies have pursued mutual foreign policy objectives. Yet despite the consistency of objectives, the bureaucratic structures, technical mechanisms, and processes by which the European Union and the United States design and implement sanctions differ significantly. These differences—always present—have been amplified by the current stresses in transatlantic relations and may be further exacerbated when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in March 2019. The reasons behind these differences are myriad and touch upon both structural matters (such as the construction of the European Union and the manner in which its member states can enact policy) and more philosophical matters, as the focus on due process and human rights in EU sanctions policy demonstrates. But given the importance of transatlantic ties and cooperation in managing the sorts of problems that sanctions are usually developed to address, it is important for both the United States and the European Union to work through these differences. Toward that goal, this paper provides a European perspective on US sanctions activity, where there are differences in approach, in particular EU attitudes toward secondary sanctions put in place by the United States, and it explains the complications that may result from the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. The paper concludes with recommendations for how the European Union can address the challenges it faces in achieving an effective sanctions policy. In short, it recommends the following: The European Union should work through its structural issues to create a more decisive and effective EU sanctions policy. The implementation and enforcement of sanctions at the member state level must be improved, and a formal EU-level sanctions body is needed to independently monitor compliance with sanctions across the European Union. A clear mechanism for ensuring the coordination and effectiveness of EU-UK post-Brexit sanctions policy must be established. The global centrality of both the European Union’s economy and the United Kingdom’s financial sector combine to present a powerful sanctions force and must thus be closely coordinated to ensure maximum effectiveness. The European Union should directly address the matter of human rights exemptions by incorporating it as a key consideration of the EU-level sanctions body identified in the first recommendation. The European Union should establish a clear channel for human rights exemptions throughout the lifetime of sanctions regimes. The European Union should consider its options to address the ability of non-EU actors to abuse EU-originating supply chains and financial services, which represents a considerable sanctions implementation vulnerability. Finally, though US-EU misalignment on sanctions is growing, policy makers must stay seized of the necessity to maintain and improve communications and coordination to prevent current schisms from having serious long-term effects on international security.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Sanctions, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Peter Round, Bastain Giegerich, Christian Mölling
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom is among the few European Union member states with full-spectrum military and defence-industrial capabilities. Through Brexit, the EU could lose 20% of its military and 40% of its defence-industrial capabilities, and thereby its influence and credibility as a security actor. The pertinent question is how to arrange the UK’s future participation in European defence.  Decision-making on defence matters in the international arena requires skilled diplomacy and the momentum to carry plans through the scrutiny of multiple parliaments. The EU risks inaction through inertia without the UK’s soft powers, placing strategic decision-making at risk. The Union needs the UK’s military enablers, but only until it can deliver its own. In addition, with the UK’s ‘special relationship’ with the United States suffering, London’s influence is on the wane.  More autonomy for the EU is possible within a framework of political partners that reaches beyond the EU, incorporating actors such as the UK, and also Norway.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, North America
  • Author: Torben Schütz, Christian Mölling
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The European defence technological industrial base (DTIB) represents a core element of European defence and deterrence – it is a strategic asset. Strong defence industries multiply the deterrent effect of the armed forces. However, national industries in most countries cannot offer the full range of supplies needed by national armed forces. Despite the fragmentary nature of its industries, Europe collectively has most of the range of defence-industrial capabilities, enabling, at least notionally, security of supply for EU and NATO partners. The UK’s share of defence-related turnover among European companies is almost 40%. The UK also makes defence-industrial contributions to many multi- national projects. While Brexit does not remove the UK’s defence-industrial base from the wider European environment, it will complicate its involvement. The EU’s growing role in defence-industrial matters, through regulation and financial resources, is shaping the wider European DTIB. At the same time, the Union’s ambition as a security actor creates an obligation to ensure that European partners outside the EU can contribute as effectively as possible to European defence and deterrence. In order to do this: The UK, EU institutions and EU governments should work toward as close a common understanding as possible that safeguarding a sustainable, innovative and competitive European defence industry is in the strategic interests of all political partners in Europe. The UK and its EU partners should establish politically and structurally significant flagship armament projects. Such projects would support a shared objective, namely to consolidate the still fragmented European DTIB, and in the process make it more competitive. A European Defence Industrial Review should be launched to help identify key industrial branches and companies that are of structural relevance to the European DTIB, and therefore to European defence and deterrence. For future regulations related to the defence industry, the EU should take a ‘systemic view’, i.e. also take into account how a regulation affects European partners and contributors outside the EU.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, London
  • Author: Douglas Barrie
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom should seek to continue to support defence-technology cooperation with the European Union and partner states across all military domains. Avoiding, or at least minimising, the second-order effects of Brexit on wider defence cooperation with European partners will be easier if the UK is directly involved in the EU’s defence-technology initiatives. Specific opportunities present themselves across the military domains: Pursue cooperation in the air domain with regard to future combat- aircraft technology. While collaboration at the platform level is unlikely in the near term, exploring common R&D in key systems, such as radar, propulsion, avionics, sensors and weapons, is achievable. In the land domain, explore partnership with France and Germany on participating in the development of a next-generation main battle tank. Collaboration on applicable technologies at the component and sub- system levels should also be encouraged. This could include armour and armament R&D, and laser weapons. In the maritime domain, support cooperation in the air-defence arena, including the use of laser weapons for ship self-defence, and the use of naval vessels for ballistic-missile defence. In the space domain, examine potential cooperation on next-generation communication satellite requirements, and wider collaboration on geospatial intelligence.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Brexit, Maritime, Space
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, France, London, Germany, Brussels
  • Author: Lucie béraud-Sudreau
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: To continue United Kingdom participation in European Union defence cooperation:  The UK, the European Commission and EU member states should strive to avoid near-term decisions that would shut out the UK from future participation in EU defence policies.  Pursue agreement on the nature of a ‘third-state’ position as applied to the UK, ensuring the goals of Brussels and London are met.  Identify ways for London to show its commitment to supporting the EU’s defence ambitions, signalling clearly a change from previous opposition.  Brussels and London need to agree the key preconditions that will under- pin any deal over the European Defence Agency (EDA), the European Defence Fund (EDF) and Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO).  The UK should aim to ensure a single point of entry through the European Defence Agency for defence cooperation with the EU, in the absence of a Commission directorate-general for security and defence. Reach agreement on an overarching financial contribution covering access to the EDA, the EDF and PESCO, while London also commits to contributing funding to specific projects it wishes to take part in.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, London, Brussels
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom, having expressed interest in a strong EU–UK security partnership and having indicated that, if anything, its commitment to NATO will be even stronger after Brexit, has an opportunity to be a leader and facilitator in the context of EU–NATO cooperation in meeting emerging threats. Several of the priority areas and action items defined by these two organisations, following a declaration to enhance their cooperation at NATO’s 2016 Warsaw Summit, play to the UK’s strengths: To increase the level of cooperation between the EU and NATO, and in order to implement the cooperation agenda, the UK should invest both financially and in terms of personnel, via voluntary national contributions to NATO. The UK taking on a leadership role in the area of inter-organisational cooperation would signal to EU partners that stronger support for NATO is not intended to weaken EU initiatives; it is an opportunity to stress the complementary nature of EU and NATO capabilities. Given its limited resources, the UK could, in effect, use engagement in EU–NATO cooperation to hedge its bets on both organisations. Stronger support for NATO can directly benefit the EU’s security and defence initiatives, while making sure that cooperation results in added value in both multinational frameworks, rather than fostering institutional competition.
  • Topic: NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, London, Brussels
  • Author: Douglas Barrie, Ben Barry, Henry Boyd, Marie-Louise Chagnaud, Nick Childs, Bastain Giegerich, Christain Möelling, Torben Schutz
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: he ability of the European Union to act in defence, today and in the future, is an important reference point in the debate about EU strategic autonomy in the context of Brexit. The EU has set itself a military level of ambition. Under the heading of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), EU member states want to be able to conduct a range of military operations. Together with the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), this study assesses to what extent the EU is able to fulfil this level of ambition, today and with an outlook towards 2030. The IISS and DGAP have developed policy-compliant scenarios to assess where possible capability shortfalls lie. Our findings benchmark existing and future EU member state capabilities against the force requirements the EU level of ambition generates.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, London, Germany
  • Author: Janko Bekić
  • Publication Date: 07-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom and Spain have many things in common. Both countries are former empires, constitutional monarchies and parliamentarydemocracies;of�iciallytheyare unitary states, however, devolution in the UK and the model of autonomous communities in Spain make them “federations without federalism”. Furthermore, they are both plurinational, in the sense that Britishness and Spanishness serve as overarching identities for the stateless nations of the English, Scots and Welsh within the UK, and the Castilians, Catalans, Basques and others within Spain (although, one could argue that the English and the Castilians are the real “owners” of the two countries). In the past, London as well as Madrid fought minority nationalisms with violence, triggering terrorist attacks by armed separatist and secessionist groups like the IRA and ETA. More recently, the central governments of the UK and Spain have been faced with peaceful and democratic independence movements in Scotland and Catalonia, to which they responded quite differently. While London allowed the Scottish independence referendum of September 2014, and promised to honor its result, Madrid remains adamantly opposed to a similar plebiscite in Catalonia, and vows to disrupt it with all legal means at its disposal (which, ultimately, includes the use of force). The differing approaches of British and Spanish governments to secessionism within their borders are mirrored in their foreign policies: the UK recognized the Serbian breakaway province of Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state, while Spain (along with four other EU members) refuses to do so.
  • Topic: Federalism, Autonomy, Independence
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Spain, Catalonia, Scotland, Western Europe
  • Author: Hannes Androsch
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: In many places it is forgotten that Europe, especially the EU, is a veritable success story, as this continent has never before experienced a period such as the past seven decades of democracy, peace and prosperity. Faced with the current challenges, especially the refugee crisis, there has been an increasing tendency among European governments to take unilateral action. This approach cannot be successful, however, as European governments attempt to implement policy prescriptions of the past to solve problems of the present. In fact, we need not less but more Europe—but also a reformed Europe: a European Union with one voice for external policy (common foreign, security and defense policy and asylum and migration policy) and the capacity to overcome its internal turmoil (common economic, budget, and tax policies, and a minimum of a transfer union). We also need a European Union that makes the benefits of globalization available to all people. The European Union is currently experiencing one of its worst crises in its history. Old fault lines that have run through the continent for centuries, once considered overcome, have become prominent once again; new challenges have arisen, especially in the wake of globalization, climate change and new technological developments (the Digital Revolution). The world has seemingly become ungovernable. The proclaimed 1989 “end of history” (Fukuyama) is certainly over, and history has a firm grip on Europe. This, at least since the outbreak of the financial and economic crisis in 2007/08, no longer deniable fact is reflected in the still unresolved crisis in Greece (“Grexit”), the associated Euro Crisis, the British referendum on exit from the EU (“Brexit”), and in the renaissance of geopolitics. The annexation of Crimea by Russia undertaken in violation of international law, the war in eastern Ukraine, as well as state disintegration in Libya, Yemen, Iraq and Syria have made it clear that, from the Caucasus to the Balkans and from Pakistan/Afghanistan via the Middle East to North Africa, extends a “Ring of Fire,”—a term used by former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew to describe the geopolitical challenges of Europe more than twenty years ago. These long concealed —or ignored—distortions are now breaking out again in the form of “wars of succession,” leaving behind territories plagued by unrest, civil wars, and failed states, and resulting in terrorism and refugee waves now reaching the center of Europe. The resulting “crisis mode,” within which the European Union has been operating for several years now, reached its climax with the result of the referendum conducted in June, determining Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit). Aside from the medium and long-term economic implications for the country, Brexit was an earthquake with unforeseeable consequences especially on the political level. Scotland is once again discussing its potential separation from the United Kingdom, the fragile peace funded by the EU in Northern Ireland is threatened by collapse, and in a considerable number of other EU countries—mainly France and the Netherlands—populist and nationalist parties are interpreting Brexit as a signal to seek their salvation in national initiatives.
  • Topic: Security, Global Recession, European Union, Refugee Crisis, Brexit, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, United Kingdom, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Bart Bonikowski
  • Publication Date: 07-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Harvard sociologist Bart Bonikowski explains why Brexit has two important lessons for political analysis on both sides of the Atlantic
  • Topic: Nationalism, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Brexit, Populism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Andrew P. Goodwin
  • Publication Date: 08-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: Access to talent is central to London’s competitiveness. It is important that all companies can recruit the skills and experience they need to innovate and grow. Tier 2 of the UK’s visa system is the main economic route for skilled immigration from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), where the position cannot be filled by a UK/EEA national or is on the Shortage Occupation List. This report assesses the extent to which start-ups and SMEs, particularly those in the science and technology sectors, have difficulties in recruiting from outside the EEA through Tier 2. It finds that while some firms are undoubtedly facing challenges, the problem is not especially widespread across the science and technology sector as a whole. However, at least some employers are encountering difficulties with Tier 2 and a faster, better-supported, and simpler process would make a real difference to employers.
  • Topic: Migration, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Immigrants
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, London, England
  • Author: Janko Bekić
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: In the weeks following June 23rd, the day of the historic Brexit vote, it seemed as if the United Kingdom was on the brink of dissolution. Exasperated by the prospect of Scotland being dragged out of the European Union against the clearly expressed will of its population (62 percent voted “remain”), Scottish First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party Nicola Sturgeon announced the preparation of a second independence referendum, which – if successful – would sever Scotland’s ties with the UK, and keep it in the EU. Emboldened by SNP’s move, Sinn Fein’s deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness called for a border poll on the uni�ication of Ireland. His line of reasoning was the same as Sturgeon’s: the majority of voters in Northern Ireland voted “remain” (56 percent) and would not be forced out of the EU by English and Welsh “leave” voters. Less than two years after the original Scottish independence referendum Downing Street was faced with a new wave of secessionism and separatism. It was generally accepted that the surprising result of the plebiscite on UK’s EU membership might persuade a portion of the “no” voters from the September 2014 Scottish independence referendum to change their minds and tip the scales in favour of secession. Namely, a considerable number of Scottish “no” voters in 2014 opted for the continuation of the union with England precisely out of fear that an independent Scotland would have to exit the EU and renegotiate its admission into the club. SNP’s rationale after June 23rd was that these people would now naturally join the pro-independence camp and help it pass the 50 percent hurdle. However, polling conducted by YouGov during the summer showed that 50 percent of Scots opposed a new referendum on independence, while only 37 percent supported it. If a new referendum was to be held nevertheless, 54 percent would vote against independence and 46 percent in favour – a shift of only one percent point compared to the original referendum which ended with the result 55 percent to 45 percent.
  • Topic: Europe Union, Brexit, Autonomy
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, England, North Ireland, Scotland, Wales
  • Author: Sarah Ponesch
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: In the UK context of National Security Strategies and Critical National Infrastructure Protection, resilience is understood as a result of, or an answer to, an ever changing, complex and interconnected world in which even a tiny event can have a huge impact. Resilience incorporates the need to adapt to an almost infinite variety of hazards and risks and could therefore be called an all-hazards approach in the wider realm of security. However, an analysis of UK security policy documents and qualitative in-depth interviews with a variety of stakeholders shows it is more than that. Resilience is framed as a means to address change in general. It includes not only the negative aspects of globalisation but also its opportunities. Moreover, resilience is understood as a whole-of-government, if not whole-of-nation attempt to ‘connect the dots’ and overcome the ‘silo thinking’ in order to see the ‘bigger picture’. Therefore, resilience, in the UK, is often understood as a form of culture rather than a tool, instrument, concept or approach. In order for it to ‘function’, resilience has to overcome and reach beyond simple top-down or bottom-up approaches. It has to be lived.
  • Topic: Security, Globalization, Resilience
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Sandy Brian Hager
  • Publication Date: 01-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex
  • Abstract: This paper offers new theoretical and empirical insights to explain the resilience of the U.S. Treasuries market as a safe haven for global investment. Going beyond the standard systemic explanation, the paper highlights the importance of domestic politics in reinforcing the safe haven status of U.S. Treasury securities. In particular, the research shows how a formidable “bond” of interests unites domestic and foreign owners of the public debt and works to sustain U.S. power in global finance. Foreigners who now own roughly half of the U.S. public debt have something to gain from their domestic counterparts. The top one percent of U.S. households that dominate domestic ownership of the U.S. public debt have considerable political clout, thus alleviating foreign concerns about the creditworthiness of the U.S. federal government. Domestic owners of the U.S. public debt, in turn, have something to gain from the seemingly insatiable foreign appetite for U.S. Treasury securities. In supplying the U.S. federal government and U.S. households with cheap credit, foreign investors in U.S. Treasuries help to deflect challenges to the top one percent within the wealth and income hierarchy.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, International Political Economy, Inequality, Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom
  • Author: David J. Berteau, Gregory Sanders, T.J. Cipoletti, Meaghan Doherty, Abby Fanlo
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The European defense market, though impacted by lethargic economic growth and painful fiscal austerity measures, continues to be a driver in global defense. Five of the fifteen biggest military spenders worldwide in 2013 were European countries, and Europe remains a major market for international arms production and sales. Surges in military spending by Russia, China, and various Middle Eastern countries in recent years has augmented the defense landscape, especially as European countries in aggregate continue to spend less on defense and the United States embarks on a series of deep-striking budget cuts. This report analyzes overall trends in defense spending, troop numbers, collaboration, and the European defense and security industrial base across 37 countries. To remain consistent with previous reports, this briefing utilizes functional NATO categories (Equipment, Personnel, Operations and Maintenance, Infrastructure, and Research and Development) and reports figures in constant 2013 euros unless otherwise noted. Many of the trends identified within the 2012 CSIS European Defense Trends report continued into 2013, namely reductions in topline defense spending, further cuts to R spending, and steadily declining troop numbers. Though total European defense spending decreased from 2001-2013, with an accelerated decline between 2008 and 2010, select countries increased spending2 between 2011 and 2013. Collaboration among European countries has decreased in the R category; however, it has increased in the equipment category – indicating increased investment in collaborative procurement. Defense expenditure as a percentage of total government expenditure has decreased across Europe from 2001-2013 with the exceptions of Albania and Estonia. An updated CSIS European Security, Defense, and Space (ESDS) Index is included within this report and exhibits a shift in geographic revenue origin for leading European defense firms away from North America and Europe and towards other major markets between 2008 and 2013. Finally, a brief analysis of Russian defense spending is included in the final section of this report in order to comprehend more fully the size and scope of the European defense market within the global framework. In 2013, Russia replaced the United Kingdom as the third largest global defense spender, devoting 11.2 percent of total government expenditures to defense. This briefing report concludes with summarized observations concerning trends in European defense from 2001 to 2013. CSIS will continue to follow and evaluate themes in European defense, which will appear in subsequent briefings.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Military Affairs, Budget
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, United Kingdom, America, Europe
  • Author: Riccardo Alcaro
  • Publication Date: 11-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to campaign for the UK to stay in the EU in the incoming in-or-out referendum on the UK’s EU membership, but only if London succeeds in recalibrating its relationship with the Union. As the EU’s fourth largest country, Italy will play a crucial role in the negotiation. The challenge for Rome is to balance its long-standing commitment to strengthening European integration with the interest in keeping a country the size and influence of the UK in the EU. Matteo Renzi’s government should be supportive of British proposals about competitiveness, pragmatic as far as sovereignty issues are concerned, constructive but cautious regarding economic governance, and understanding of British concerns but also firm about immigration.
  • Topic: Markets, Regional Cooperation, Immigration, European Union
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-70-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Malcolm Sayers
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxfam Publishing
  • Abstract: The world faces twin challenges: delivering a decent standard of living for everyone, while living within our environmental limits. These two concerns are brought together in Oxfam's Doughnut model, which visualizes a space between planetary boundaries and a social floor where it is environmentally safe and socially just for humanity to exist. Here, The UK Doughnut: A framework for environmental sustainability and social justice suggests areas of life that might constitute a social floor below which no-one in the UK should fall, and begins the process of identifying which environmental boundaries might be useful for incorporation into a national UK analysis. The report provides a snapshot of the UK's status by assessing its current position against the suggested set of domains and indicators.
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Zheng Liansheng
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for International Governance Innovation
  • Abstract: The shadow banking system was defined in 2007 by Paul McCulley, the managing director of Pacific Investment Management Company, but it began to receive significant attention in the immediate aftermath of the GFC. Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, the regulatory agencies of different countries, international organizations and think tanks have all carried out in-depth research into shadow banking and have released a series of results. Regulatory reforms have also addressed shadow banking, the most important of which is the US Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which aims to restrain the expansion and risk taking of shadow banking in the United States. The United Kingdom and the European Union have also adopted reforms and built up a supervisory system to track the risks of the shadow banking system.
  • Topic: Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, China, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: London’s economy is growing strongly, easily outpacing both the UK and its nearest European rivals such as Paris and Frankfurt. Significant investments in public infrastructure, office buildings, retailing, and homes all point to widespread optimism that the growth will continue, not just for the next year or two but for many years to come. But how confident should we be about London’s growth trajectory? London 2030 analyses the trajectory and magnitude of change that is likely to confront London’s economy in the decade and a half from 2015 up to 2030. The study is the result of analysis by our specialist cities forecasting team, and provides unrivalled forecast data sets and in-depth analysis of what trends imply for the scale and structure of the capital’s economy over the next fifteen years, as well as assessment of other factors that might influence growth. The full research programme is now available for purchase, and is comprised of five research papers: - Our baseline forecasts for London’s economy, population growth and employment to 2030 - A forecast comparison between our data and The London Plan - Analysis of housing trends: will a shortage of housing constrain London’s growth? - Assessment of the impact of alternate scenarios, such as a Eurozone crisis, or a stronger performance -Possible drivers of change such as the impact of new technology, or the UK leaving the EU
  • Topic: Economy, Economic growth, Investment
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, London
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Oxford Economics
  • Abstract: In September 2012, Huawei commited to spending £1.3 billion in the UK. Almost three years later, the global information and communications leader is well on its way to doing just that—and with vast social and economic significance. In this report, Oxford Economics explores the contribution of Huawei to the UK economy over the three years 2012-2014, and assesses the company’s recent UK expenditure record over the five years 2013-2017, split equally between investment and procurement.
  • Topic: Economics, Communications, Investment
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Maxine Builder
  • Publication Date: 01-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: Growing rates of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) pose a threat to public health that could undo many of the medical advances made over the last seventy years, eroding the global medical safety net and posing a significant threat to national security. Diseases once eliminated by a single course of antibiotics show drug resistance, often to several different classes of drugs. Some of the implications of increasing rates of AMR are intuitive, such as longer duration of illness, extended hospital stays, and higher rates of mortality. But other effects of a postantibiotics world are less obvious, such as the inability to perform life-saving operations or the ability for a simple scratch on the arm to kill. Humanity could soon find itself living in a reality in which communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, pneumonia, and other common infections cannot be controlled. This potentially catastrophic problem still can be abated, and the global health community, including the World Health Organization (WHO), has highlighted AMR as a priority in global health. But all sectors of the international community, not simply those in public health, need to take immediate steps to reverse the current trends and eliminate the systematic misuse of antimicrobial drugs, especially in livestock, and restore the pipeline of new antimicrobial drugs. The significant health and economic costs of AMR are difficult to quantify due to incomplete data that often underreports the extent of the problem, since there are no standard metrics or consensus on methodology to measure rates of AMR. But even the piecemeal statistics that exist paint a bleak picture. In a 2013 report, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports at least two million Americans acquire serious infections to one or more strains of AMR bacteria annually, and at least 23,000 people die of these infections.1 A 2008 study estimated the excess direct costs to the US medical system attributable to AMR infections at $20 billion, with additional estimated productivity losses to be as high as $35 billion.2 With the increase in resistant infections and continuing rise in medical costs, the cost to the American medical system no doubt also has increased. This trend is not a uniquely American problem; it is truly global in scope. The European Union (EU) reports about 25,000 deaths annually due to drug-resistant bacteria, at an overall, combined cost of $2 billion in healthcare costs and productivity losses.3 There were over 14.7 million incidents of moderate-to-severe adverse reactions to antibiotics each year between 2001 and 2005 in China. Of these, 150,000 patients died annually.4 The most recent available data on China estimates that treatment of AMR infections during that same time period cost at least $477 million, with productivity losses of more than $55 million each year.5 A 2005 study of the United Kingdom (UK) found that the real annual gross domestic losses due to AMR were between 0.4 and 1.6 percent.6 Although slightly outdated, this estimate may be a useful guide in assessing the global impact of AMR, and given the trend of increasing resistance, it is likely that the impact will also increase accordingly. That said, it is prudent to repeat that the disparities in the quality of data reporting standards across China, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union make it difficult to directly compare the severity of the impacts AMR has on each entity. The primary cause of AMR globally is antibiotic overuse and misuse, be it from doctors inappropriately prescribing antibiotics to treat viral infections or individuals seeking over-the-counter antibiotics for self-treatment. But another driver, less obvious than overuse in humans, is the use of antimicrobials in livestock, and the ratio of use in animals as compared to humans is astounding. In the United States, about 80 percent of all antibiotics are consumed in either agriculture or aquaculture. Generally, these drugs are administered to livestock as growth promoters and are medically unnecessary. Resistance in livestock quickly spreads to humans, and many community-acquired infections are the result of a contaminated food supply. Although most infections are acquired in the community, most deaths attributed to resistant infections occur in healthcare settings, and healthcare-acquired (or nosocomial) infections are another driver of AMR. At this point, AMR does not pose an immediate and direct threat to national security. Rather, this is a creeping global security crisis. If current trends continue, these drugs upon which the world relies will lose effectiveness. The gains made in fighting infectious diseases will be reversed, and a wide range of routine surgeries and easily treatable infections will become much more dangerous and deadly. This will cause the health of the world's working population to deteriorate, and the economic productivity and social cohesion of the globe to decline. At any time, a “black swan” event—triggered by an outbreak of drug-resistant tuberculosis, cholera, or pneumonia, for example—could prove catastrophic, endangering the fabric of societies and our globalized economy, forcing a stop to international trade and travel to prevent further spread. The issue of AMR is a tragedy of the commons in which individual incentives lead to the overuse and eventual destruction of a shared resource. International cooperation is required to walk back from this ledge and avoid a postantibiotics world, even though it is impossible to completely reverse the damage already done.
  • Topic: Health, National Security, Infectious Diseases, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, United Kingdom, America, Europe
  • Author: Jonas Siegel
  • Publication Date: 03-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: In the years since the 2000 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, NPT nuclear weapons states have engaged in consequential transparency measures about their stockpiles of nuclear weapons and materials. The level of transparency thus far achieved, however, has proven uneven in terms of the types and amounts of information released and in terms of the frequency of those releases—and most importantly, has not contributed significantly to fulfillment of these states NPT commitments. Nuclear weapons states should reassess the scope of their transparency efforts to date and consider expanding the types of information that they reveal to provide international assurances and achieve gains in support of the nuclear nonproliferation regime. This paper identifies particular steps that these states could take to fulfill the desire for greater transparency that move beyond declarations of the number and status of nuclear weapons and nuclear materials. In particular, it focuses on how transparency can be expanded about the operational practices and protocols that govern the day-to-day management of their military nuclear materials—their warheads, weapons components, and material stockpiles—and how transparency in this area would contribute to fulfilling their disarmament and nonproliferation commitments.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Military Strategy, Disarmament
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, United Kingdom, France
  • Author: Michael Dauderstädt, Jose Enrique de Ayala, Domenec Ruiz Devesa, Vicente Palacio, Vicente Palacio
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Fundación Alternativas
  • Abstract: The new European Parliament (EP) elected in May 2014 is facing a state of emergency in Europe. As 2014 draws to a close, austerity policies and the threat of populism are jeopardizing the present and the future of the European project. Unemployment rates in Europe are double the unemployment rate in the US and growth in the Eurozone is expected to fall below 1% in 2015. Although “the worst of the crisis” would appear to be behind us, Europe continues to be vulnerable to further economic shocks going forward. In fact, the EU could well be teetering on the brink of a third recession, the immediate threats on the horizon being current deflationary trends and a growing periphery crisis that is already manifest in Greece and could well spread to France and Italy. There is much uncertainty about the short- and medium-term future. It is not clear whether institutions such as the EP or the European Central Bank (ECB) will exercise their powers to the limit in order to counterbalance those of the governments of Member States and the Council, whether and when Germany will step up and assume a more active role in Eurozone stimulus, whether some kind of reform of the Lisbon treaty is in the cards or what kind of solutions will be provided to countries like Greece whose economies remain on the verge of collapse. ECB Governor Mario Draghi’s July 2014 speech in Jackson Hole, during which he strongly emphasized job creation rather dwelling on inflation and alluded to the possibility of implementing demand-side policies, structural reforms linked to a rise in 5 productivity, and enhancing competitiveness on a basis other than lower labour costs, was a very good sign. More recently, ECB authorities announced a new round of quantitative easing (QE) to take place in early 2015, and EC President Jean Claude Juncker made a commitment to devote €315 billion to infrastructure as part of his investment plan. Although we cannot expect a radical shift in economic policy any time soon, at least a minimal “Brussels consensus” if the EU is ever to put itself on the sure track towards a sustained recovery, structural reforms will need to be accompanied by fiscal stimulus. The time looks ripe for revising the economic policies that failed to achieve the objectives for which they were devised: pulling Europe out of the crisis and accelerating growth and employment. The time also looks ripe for a deep political and institutional shift: restoring the role of EU institutions – mainly the EP and the Commission – in forging the destinies of European citizens. If we accept the viewpoint that the EP is the institution that best embodies the concept of a European democracy built on the will of average citizens, the question we must subsequently ask ourselves whether the incoming EP elected in May 2014 will be able to bring about the change of tack that Europe needs. If viewed from a strictly quantitative perspective, the final outcome of the May elections was less damaging than originally feared. The European People’s Party once again won a majority (with 221 seats compared to 265 in 2009), and the breakdown for the rest of the parties and groups, in order of representation, was: the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (191/184); the Conservatives and Reformists (70/51); the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (67/84); the Greens (50/55); the European United Left (52/35), the Non-attached Members group (52/27) and the anti-Union Europe of Freedom and Democracy (48/32). Voter turnout across the EU fell very slightly from the 43% registered in 2009 to 42.5% in May, but did not break the crucial “psychological barrier” of 40%. 6 Table 1. Current distribution of seats and Parliamentary Groups in the EP (2014- 19 legislature) Source: Europarl http://www.europarl.europa.eu/elections2014-results/en/electionresults-2014.html If one takes a tally of only the seats now held by the traditional “big three” (the European People’s Party, the Socialists and the Liberal-Democrats), it is obvious that the pro-European forces still enjoy a solid majority in the EP – a very welcome majority in the sense that it signals that a majority of European voters continue to believe in a more united Europe, even in the context of the current economic, social and institutional crisis. The good news, therefore, is that there may be a sufficient “critical mass” in favour of going forward with the integration process rather than reversing it. Moreover, if the big three are successful in building ad hoc alliances with other parties such as the European Left and the Greens regarding a social and economic platform for a better Europe, it might even be possible to muster a majority willing to go even further in a federalist direction. However, these new distribution figures reveal only a small part of the entire story. Firstly, they should not keep us from recognizing the qualitative significance of the rise of a heterogeneous group of anti-integration and anti-European forces in the EP that represent a growing number of Europeans willing to cast their votes for Eurosceptic, nationalistic, populist, or xenophobic parties. The rising tide of Eurosceptics and Europhobia within the EP could well be perceived as a potential Trojan horse that could eventually undermine the stability of the EU and its very existence. Even if divided by 7 country, ideology, opportunity and other criteria and unable (or unwilling) to forge strong, sustained parliamentary coalitions, taken together, these forces hold 170 out of 751 seats in the current EP – an impressive 22%. The number of MEPs of the French National Front increased from 3 in 2009 to 24 in 2014, the new German right-wing antiEuro party Alternative for Germany (AFD) won 7 seats, and UKIP - which won the popular vote in Britain - moved up to 24 (from 13 in 2009). The situation is more worrying if we take into consideration that an overwhelming number of European citizens (almost 58%) did not go to the polls to vote. Had they chosen to make their voices heard, their vote would have supposed a turning point for Europe in one direction or another. Secondly, Euroscepticism and Europhobia are also having a considerable impact on the national politics of Member States (MS), and the most alarming examples of this phenomenon have surfaced in the major, “hard core” countries upon which European construction heavily depends such as France, Italy, Germany, or even for that matter, the UK. What these diverse parties ultimately have in common is their fierce defence of national sovereignty. They have reached the point of setting national policy agendas throughout the EU. As of the end of November 2014, the National Front was still ahead in voter intention polls in France, the AFD was gaining support according to polls conducted in Germany, and similar surveys in the UK showed that support for the anti-immigration UKIP was holding strong. The rise of UKIP is putting David Cameron’s government under intense pressure to hold a referendum on Britain’s exit from the EU. The victory of Matteo Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party in the May EP elections does not obscure the fact that the fiercely populist and Eurosceptic Five-Star movement remains the largest party in the Italian Chamber of Deputies since February 2013. Sweden’s xenophobic Democratic Party could hold the key to governance in that country after the March 2015 elections. For the first time, a majority of citizens in both France and Germany regard the EU as a problem. Parallel to these developments, the anti-Muslim street demonstrations are becoming more and more frequent in Germany and the Netherlands. Should the economic situation in Europe worsen, the diverse range of tensions originating in northern and southern MSs, not to mention the tensions between them, could ratchet support for populist movements to dangerously high levels.
  • Topic: Economics, Europe Union, Election watch, Unemployment
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Germany, Brussels